One of the most universal questions we ask regarding God is, “Why does God allow suffering?”
Suffering allowed by a good God is a hard pill to swallow. It feels contrary to God’s goodness, His loving kindness, His mercy and His love. Two plus two equals five in our minds.
I wish I could give you all the answers for the suffering you are going through (or have gone through), but I’m in the same boat as you. I don’t always understand God’s ways, but I do trust His heart.
I can tell you from God’s Word one way God redeems our suffering. Here it is:
“What a wonderful God we have—he is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of every mercy, and the one who so wonderfully comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials. And why does he do this? So that when others are troubled, needing our sympathy and encouragement, we can pass on to them this same help and comfort God has given us. You can be sure that the more we undergo sufferings for Christ, the more he will shower us with his comfort and encouragement.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-5 TLB)
We may not understand our suffering, but there can be a purpose to the suffering. God comforts us in our suffering so we can comfort others in theirs.
[Tweet “We get comfort from God, so we can give it away to others.”]
As we are comforted from God when we are going through the pits, we now have an experiential knowledge of suffering that will help others through their own pits. This is empathy, which has a deeper impact than pity. Pity says, “I feel bad for you.”. Empathy says, “I feel bad with you.”
When I have the chance to show empathy, comforting others in the same way God has comforted me, I am able to be thankful for the suffering. Thankful that the suffering has a purpose beyond my own pain.
Think about a recent suffering or trial you have gone through. What comfort did God give you during that time?
When has God allowed you give comfort to someone else who is going through a trial similar to one you have endured?
Take this verse with you this week, and look for opportunities this week to give comfort away.